U.S. stocks climbed on Friday, with the Dow industrials and S&P 500 knocking out a sixth week of record-clearing gains, as investors embraced the notion of continued stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
"The stock market has a lot of momentum here; one reason is we're getting closer and closer to year end, and people don't want to take any gains because they have to pay taxes early next year," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at RW Baird & Co. "The economy is doing better in some areas, yet the Fed is not showing any inclination towards cutting quantitative easing," he added.
The Dow climbed to an intraday record of 15,962.98, and finished the session at a all-time close of 15,961.70, up 85.48 points, or 0.5 percent for the session and 1.3 percent from last Friday. Exxon Mobil led blue-chip gains after Berkshire Hathaway reported holding a roughly $3.7 billion stake in the oil company.
Energy and materials led broad gains that included all 10 of its major industry groups on the S&P 500, which rose 7.56 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,798.18, after rising to an intraday record 1,798.23. It finished with a 1.6 percent weekly gain.
"Financials are looking a little stronger, that's a sector that has heated up during the last few weeks, as people start to rotate and take some profits in some sectors," said JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade. "If you're a believer that these things can continue, you have to believe the financials can come to life," he said.
Agilent Technologies was among shares rallying, a day after the maker of scientific instruments reported adjusted earnings that beat estimates.
The Nasdaq also advanced for its first weekly gain in three, climbing 13.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 3,985.97, up 1.7 percent from a week ago.
Advancers outran decliners by a near 2-to-1 ratio on the New York Stock Exchange, where 796 million shares exchanged hands. Composite volume topped 3.2 billion.
The dollar edged lower against the currencies of major U.S. trading partners, while the 10-year
Oil fell for a sixth week, its longest such stretch since December of 1998, with crude-oil futures up 8 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $93.84 a barrel, leaving the commodity off 0.8 percent from last Friday; gold futures rose $1.10, or 0.1 percent, to settled at $1,287.40 an ounce, leaving prices up 0.2 percent for the week after falling 5.1 percent over the prior two weeks.
U.S. stock-index futures eased their advance only slightly in the wake of economic reports, one of which had prices for U.S. exports unexpectedly falling in October, while the costs of imports into the United States also fell as a result of a steep fall in oil prices. Export prices fell 0.5 percent last month, the Labor Department said.
Another report, the New York manufacturing survey, came in minus 2.2 for November, also below estimates.
Data also had U.S. industrial production down 0.1 percent in October.
The industrial production report is among those impacted by the government shutdown, so it was discounted by the market, while the regional manufacturing story "wasn't off-the-chart soft, so combined with everything else it got a yawn," said TD Ameritrade's Kinahan.
Stocks rose on Thursday, lifting the S&P 500 and Dow industrials to record finishes, following dovish remarks from U.S. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen, who is on course to become the central bank's next chairman.
"Yellen helped squash the notion of a taper occurring in December though when she rejected the notion to the Senate Banking Committee that there is an asset bubble being created by QE and that 'it would be costly to fail to provide accommodation,'" emailed Nick Raich, CEO at the Earnings Scout.
"There are a lot of folks beginning to worry that the Fed is creating another bubble is some asset classes," said RW Baird's Bittles, listing stocks and real estate as among them. But the Fed is more concerned about deflation than inflation, given the decline in commodity prices, said Bittles, who believes that March would be the first time the central bank might start tapering its asset purchases. Still, there is no reason to believe the Fed will make any move then, he said.
—By CNBC's Kate Gibson
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